Into the Crypts of “UGH!”
Since the dawn of Heavy Metal there have been many vocal techniques created, mastered, and horrendously attempted by the false. One stands above all others…
Thomas Gabriel Fischer, a young and dapper man in his early 20’s, decided one day his voice needed to be heard. He was sick and tired of everyday life and was delving deeper and deeper into the darkest pits of music and culture only to find his solace in Heavy Metal. And all of you out there in internet land should be grateful for the fateful night in 1982 when Mr. Fischer formally started the seminal extreme metal band known as Hellhammer. This was to be the launching pad for Mr. Fischer’s glory and infamy. In 1983, under the aptly titled moniker of “Satanic Slaughter”, Fischer and the boys recorded two demo tapes: Death Fiend and Triumph of Death. Death Fiend would go unreleased, but it has the first known recording of Mr. Fischer’s famously infamous “UGH!”, the subject of today’s article.
Around the 2:10 mark the mystical sound makes its appearance
After Death Fiend, Mr. Fischer would change his stage name to the all-powerful “Thomas G. Warrior” and remain so for the rest of his career. Under his new moniker, he would go on to record a third demo and an official EP with Hellhammer before the band called it quits in 1984. With these four releases Mr. Warrior would go on to expand his signature vocal exultation, especially on Hellhammer’s Apocalyptic Raids, but it really wasn’t until he formed Celtic Frost that he would come to master this immortal technique. As one listens to Celtic Frost’s debut album Morbid Tales you will hear a great number of “UGH!”s spattered across the twelve tracks. While this album stands as a testament to Mr. Warrior’s songwriting and budding capabilities as a guitarist, it was still a honing process for the “UGH!”. Perhaps the best example of his practice thus far appears on the closing track “Nocturnal Fear” where he performs a trifecta of “UGH!”s near the end of the song and finally finishes with a powerful double-header, proving his dedication to the art.
The triple threat starts at 23:56, while the deadly double header at 24:33
At this point, you can forget all of what came prior. For now, we enter the sanctum. We go To Mega Therion. On October 27th, 1985, Celtic Frost would unleash on the world one of the finest examples of Heavy Metal to date, a record that has since stood the test of time. And what does Mr. Warrior introduce the album with? “UUUGH!” of course! Well, after a masterful use of timpani and horns, that is. After eleven seconds into the first proper song on the album, Mr. Warrior unloads a megaton bomb onto the listener. Never before nor ever since has a vocal exclamation had such weight. Mr. Warrior is declaring himself, marking his territory and scaring off all wimps and posers in his stead. And all that just from his first guttural exuberance on the record. To Mega Therion continues with an insurmountable number of “UGH!”s varying in both depth and length, solidifying Mr. Warrior as the true master he was destined to be. He becomes so engrossed in his technique, so enthralled in his performance that there are times when he can hardly finish a predetermined lyric before interjecting a concrete “UGH!” into his recording. This bewildering anomaly is most noticeably heard on “Circle of the Tyrants” when Mr. Fischer makes numerous attempts at the song’s title (which you can hear clearly on the rendition recorded for Emperor’s Return) but can only muster a primal “Circle of the Ty-UGH!” in its place. The sheer power of the “UGH!” is so overbearing that there is absolutely no escaping it.
At 1:15 you can hear the vocal perfection in action, at 19:34 you can hear the power of the “UGH!” compelling Mr. Warrior
At this point, everyone should realize how truly symbolic the “UGH!” really is. The ”UGH!” is more than just a sound, it represents life. The sound of giving birth? I guarantee your mom gave at least one good “UGH!” before you popped out. The sound of a baby learning to speak? Many an “UGH!” have been uttered by our youth and shall continue to occur until the end of time. The sound made when menial tasks and great hardships bombard a person’s life? The all-encompassing “UGH!” is there to set ease to the mind. Its strength and timelessness binds people across all eras. From the newborn in their crib, soiling their diaper, to the Viking lopping heads off of his opponents in battle, all shall utter the fateful “UGH!” in due time. Regardless of your walk of life, background, race, sex or age, the almighty “UGH!” defines us, gives life to us and above all represents our humanity.
I even got the chance to sit down with Mr. Warrior and ask him a few questions regarding the subject:
“What would you say was the biggest influence on your initial “UGH!”?
When did you realize this was going to become a worldwide phenomenon?
Do you think that by embracing the ideology of this sound, the world could finally become its utopic potential?
Any last words for our readers?
Bask in this glory!
Now, some of you out there may be wondering; Boss! I’ve made the sound before but when I try recording myself it comes out weak. Can you help me, please? And my answer? Yes. Yes I can. Much like the Force, the “UGH!” can be managed and manipulated to the will of its user, the “UGH!” Knights, if you will. Follow these four steps and you too can wield the “UGH!”, whether for recording purposes or life in general:
- Drink something – You need to loosen up and lubricate your system so liquid is key. When attempting the “UGH!” your drink should be but doesn’t have to be alcoholic. Beer is number one but anything with a bite will suffice. For all underage and tee-totalling readers, don’t drink an ounce of booze. A soda with a nice bite is a perfect choice as well. Grab your cold IPA or Dr. Pepper and take a nice deep swig.
- Power stance – Spread your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart to spread your weight evenly. You want to make sure you are grounded and that your outburst will not teeter you in any direction.
- Arms firm – Solidify your arms in a chosen position. Do whatever feels natural. Personally, I prefer the ninety-degree angle option with my forearms towards the sky myself.
- “UGH!” – Now that you are well oiled and standing ready for battle, you are ready to “UGH!”. Start low in your belly with the “U”, let it rise from within. Add the gravelly “G” as the sound passes through your throat. Finally, release this monstrosity from your mouth with the final “H!” Felt good, didn’t it? Now repeat.
In case my instructions weren’t clear enough here is a video:
So there you have it! A brief history, explanation and instructional video on the ever immortal, “TOM G WARRIOR UGH!” Share your favorite “UGH!”s in the comments below and maybe even record your own to show off your prowess. Whatever you do decide, make sure you’re having fun, as that is what life is all about. Fun and “UGH!”s.